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Policy ID no QR_01_01

Quality and Relevance of Learning and


Managed by: Planning and Responsible position: Director Version: 1

Contact person: Gail Townsend Approved by: HoM File number: QR_01_01

Contact position: Director, Date approved: Status: Current

Planning and Development

Contact number: Next review date: Security classification: open

July 2013


Date Version Revision description

Quality and Relevance of Learning and Teaching
Quality can be measured, to some extent, by the level at which learners achieve the knowledge,
skills, and behaviours specified in the national curriculum. Society and parents expect more
than good test scores; they also have expectations regarding students’ attitudes and behaviour
that are not easily measured but do affect public perceptions of the quality of education delivery.

An important dimension of the quality of education is relevance. What is taught, and how it is
taught must be relevant, i.e. learning activities and environments must give learners the best
possible opportunities for success and provide an appropriate curriculum and flexible delivery
arrangements to meet their diverse needs.

Quality education needs quality providers. The professional leadership and management of
schools and institutions is key to ensuring that the support systems, environments and
programmes offered meet the needs of learners and allow them to develop to their fullest

All education providers must offer appropriate and accessible study options in order to create a
workforce that is technically and academically proficient. These options must address the future
needs of both the learner and the country if sustainable, positive development and economic
growth is to be achieved. High levels of knowledge, competencies and skills are considered to
be the very basic conditions for active citizenship, employment and social cohesion.

Improving the quality and relevance of education relates to improving educational management,
facilities, equipment, teacher/tutor competencies and professional development, curricular and
resource development, and strengthening capacity in learner-centred and adult learning

The attainment of quality achievement in all learning activities offered within the Cook Islands is
an integral part of the Ministry’s commitment to excellence and opportunity at all levels of

2. Purpose
High levels of knowledge, competency and skills are considered to be the very basic conditions
for positive citizenship, employment and social cohesion. The primary goal of quality education
is to ensure that all learners have opportunity, are successful and are equipped to become fully
participating members of their groups, societies and the global community.

Quality education promotes the opportunity for all age groups to acquire education of such a
standard that everyone has equitable and positive opportunities for personal development. To
ensure this the Ministry is committed to:

i.) Meeting the purpose of Learning for Life -Cook Islands Education Master Plan (2008-
2023) which is:
“All people in the Cook Islands will have equal access to quality learning opportunities
across the full spectrum of human endeavour from birth.”
and includes the following relevant foci and goals:
Learning and Teaching
Focus: Equitable access to quality learning and the experience of success through a
range of
programmes that meet individual needs and celebrate individual talents.
• Equitable access for all learners to quality learning programmes.
Learning and the Community
Focus: A high level of community involvement in determining quality educational
Infrastructure and Support
Focus: The provision of appropriate legislation, research, guidelines and standards
which support
and enhance opportunities for learning.
• Adequate budget resource for education
• High quality buildings, grounds and facilities
• Well qualified and resourced teachers, administrators and support staff
• High quality management systems

ii.) Meeting the aims of “Te Kaveinga Nui” - the National Sustainable Development
Plan,which includes the priority area:
“ A Cook Islands where all people who reside in our islands can enjoy opportunities to
fulfil their potential, prosper and participate in the social, economic, political and cultural life of
our communities and nation” (pg 15).
It also includes the strategies of:
Ensuring equitable access for all learners to quality learning programmes.
Ensuring that every child is literate and numerate by the end of Year 8.
Ensuring the education sector is responsive to the training needs of the wider community
through collaboration and partnerships with other agencies.
Enabling every young person to have access to the opportunity to develop knowledge
and skills to gain qualifications that they need to contribute to the development of the
Cook Islands.

iii.) Meeting the goals of the Pacific Education Development Framework (PEDF) which
To improve quality and outcomes

iv.) Meeting the goals of the UNESCO 'Education For All' policy, which include:
Goal 6: Improving all aspects of the quality and excellence of education with measurable
learning outcomes.

This policy applies to all parties who are bound by the requirements of the Education

All levels and dimensions of education in the Cook Islands will consistently demonstrate
standards of excellence. There will be a high quality of learning achieved through provision of
an appropriate number of qualified teachers, administrators and support staff. Relevant national
curricula and provider programmes will be supported by an adequate number of modern,
relevant teaching and learning materials and facilities, and high standards of student literacy
and numeracy. A culture of evaluation and quality assurance will promote ongoing development.

Strategic Objectives

To improve quality at all levels of education by:

 Provision of an appropriate number of effective, qualified teachers, administrators and

support staff in the education sector.

 Development and maintenance of high quality approaches to learning and teaching

based on pedagogical best practice.

 Development, distribution and use of relevant, high quality and current national and local
provider learning programmes.

 Provision of an adequate current, relevant teaching and learning infrastructure and


 Targeted professional development for all education sector staff.

 Monitoring and assessment of standards of student literacy and numeracy and students’
progress in other learning areas and programmes.

 Developing and resourcing efficient and effective tertiary education within the Cook

 Effective overall monitoring and evaluation systems.

5. Policy Detail

5.1 Quality Teaching

Quality education is not possible without quality teaching. Teachers are at the heart of every
education system, and plans and strategies for the initial preparation and ongoing professional
development of teachers are central elements of the process of achieving goals and targets
relating to quality, access and equity in education.

Numerous social, cultural, economic and technological changes in society place new demands
on the teaching profession. The ability of teachers/tutors to meet the challenges of increasing
social and cultural diversity is crucial for the development of more equitable education systems
and for progress towards providing equal opportunities for all.

The education and training of teachers/tutors is a fundamental element in the implementation of

this policy. Future increases in the overall level of educational attainment and the pace of
progress towards common objectives in education will be facilitated by the existence of effective
systems of teacher education. Sustained teacher development, both pre-service and in-service,
is essential for improving the quality of education. Recurrent inservice teacher training will
encompass practical methods of teaching, ways to adapt the curriculum and programmes to the
social and physical environment of the students, understanding how students develop and
learn, methods of evaluating teaching and learning and parent-teacher and community relations.
Teachers’ working conditions affect their ability to provide quality education. The condition of
infrastructure, availability of resources and class sizes all influence the teacher’s experience as
an educator. Teachers’ remuneration also matters. Effective teachers are highly committed and
care about their students; they need supportive working conditions to maintain these positive
attitudes. Enhancing the professional status of teaching in the Cook Islands is a critical

Providing teachers with quality resources and facilities with which to provide learning
opportunities increases the range of approaches and activities that teachers can utilize to
engage students in learning and promote success.

5.1.2 Priority Policy Instruments and Actions – Quality Teaching

The Ministry of Education (MoE) will ensure:
 There is development of a number of strategies on training, recruitment, evaluation,
remuneration and retention of teachers.
 Teaching and support staff are sufficient and are deployed according to the needs of
learner groups.
 The provision of coherent, high quality and relevant teacher education programmes
which respond effectively to the evolving needs of providers, teachers and Cook Islands
society at large.
 Initial education, early career support and further professional development is
coordinated, coherent, adequately resourced and quality assured.
 Teachers are encouraged and supported throughout their careers to review their
learning needs and to acquire new knowledge, skills and competencies through formal,
informal and non-formal learning, including exchanges and attachments.
 Resourcing policies which ensure teachers are supported with quality resources and
 Maintain a core of trained specialists at the MoE, and ensure that they are accessible to
all providers for assistance with in-service delivery, curriculum and programme review
and development, and qualifications expertise.
 Ensuring 100% of all educational professionals meet the professional standards of their
teaching level with support mechanisms for advice, guidance and supervision where
 Ensure the inclusion and monitoring of targeted professional development plans as part
of performance management systems.

5.2 Quality Leadership

Leadership is a strategic function. It is about setting a vision and a direction for any organization
or institution. Leadership must be responsive to the actual and anticipated needs of
stakeholders. Leadership is an active function. It is the ability to enlist others in working to meet
a common goal. The Ministry of Education must promote quality leadership through promoting
best practice.

Competency in leadership and management is key to creating a positive working culture and
atmosphere and therefore provide quality education. The leaders of institutions need to be both
curriculum and pedagogical frontrunners in their schools. They must also provide leadership to
their staff.

5.2.1 Priority Policy Instruments and Actions – Quality Leadership

 Provide capacity building programmes to improve the leadership and management skills
of educational leaders including human resources management, policy development,
strategic planning, financial management and budgeting, management of resources,
inventory of assets and reporting on use of education grants.
 Ensure leadership at all levels of the Ministry is current in terms of best practice models,
specific position requirements and delivery of services both internally and externally

5.3 Quality Learning Environments

Positive learning outcomes happen in quality learning environments. The learning environment
can be broadly defined as the “social, physical, psychological and pedagogical context in which
learning occurs and which affect student achievement and attitudes (Fraser (1998) in Nix,
Fraser and Leadbetter, 2005). It is not only the physical environment of the classroom but also
the social environment and interactions between teachers and learner that effects the learning
and teaching processes. The environment impacts not only on the direct learning outcomes for
students but also on the “hidden curriculum”.

An important part of providing quality education involves providers ensuring there are effective
guidance and support processes available to all learners. The learning environment of the
school must be conducive to learning where the learners feel secure, confident and are
motivated to learn.

5.3.1 Priority Policy Instruments and Actions – Quality Learning Environments

 Establishing fully resourced providers to meet the teaching and learning needs of all
 There is access for all learners
 The teaching space is sufficient to meet the needs of all learners in relation to size,
layout, heating, lighting, ventilation, safety and display.
 The teaching areas are flexible and can support a variety of formal and informal teaching
 Support providers in developing cultures which respect individuals, values positive
relationships and welcome and support learners according to their individual needs.
 Strategies are developed which support the holistic development and wellbeing of

5.4 Relevant Quality Programmes

In modern society, where changes in knowledge are rapid and the mobility of the population is
increasing, education is expected to provide more than the basic skills and competencies. The social
relevance of curricula is essential for ensuring that comprehensive education programmes support
people to become active citizens.

Programmes delivered must be of cultural, social and practical relevance. To attain the objectives of the
EMP teaching must be meaningful and prepare learners for rapid changes in Cook Islands society,
including its relationship regionally and internationally.
Quality content refers to the intended and taught curricula of schools and programmes of learning
institutions. National goals for education, and outcome statements that translate those goals into
measurable objectives, provide the starting point for the development and implementation of curricula.
Curriculum and programmes therefore need to focus on developing the critical capabilities of students,
enabling them to know themselves and to think for themselves, thus becoming active and confident
learners. The curricula must take advantage of Cook Island values such as cooperation, reciprocity,
sharing and respect and at the same time promote self-esteem of all students.

5.4.1 Priority Policy Instruments and Actions – Relevant Quality Programmes

 Ensure a Cook Islands Curriculum Framework that provides for the implementation of a wide range
of programmes.
 Develop locally relevant programmes and resources in accordance with the national curriculum.
 Develop partnerships between providers and the community to enhance the content and delivery of
 Develop technical and vocational programmes in secondary schools to scaffold learners to tertiary
 Develop appropriate tertiary and continuing education programmes that enhance economic growth
and development opportunities.
5.5 Quality Systems
The term quality systems refer to the policies, processes and actions through which the quality of education
is maintained and developed. The main objective of quality systems is to provide information and
understanding about how education is functioning, what the results are, how it can be improved, and to
take responsibility for creating favourable conditions for quality.

Quality systems need to be in place at all levels of education and governance. In responding to central
government, the Ministry must assure quality at a national level. Systems must also be in place to assure
quality in our schools. Another equally important objective is to provide an opportunity for education
providers to account to their communities for the work delivered and the use of the public resources

Evaluating the attainment of the objectives of education is central for quality assurance. It is important to
have accountability of providers of education. It is also important to produce information revealing the
effectiveness of education and the attainment of common objectives.
Improvement in teaching and learning relies on the appropriate data being collected and reported, effective
analysis of that data, problem identification to inform the type of intervention required, appropriate activities
carried out and evaluation of those activities.

5.5.1 Priority Policy Instruments and Actions - Quality Systems

 Utilise audit processes to ensure quality, compliance and strategies for improvement.
 Ensure providers conduct evaluation of their own activities.
 MoE will evaluate the activity of providers and analyse statistical data to inform decision
 An external evaluation, conducted by a party independent of administration will be carried out
to review structure, systems and process to ensure that MoE is providing the best possible
support for school improvement.
6. Risk and Mitigation
The table below lists examples of possible consequences, along with mitigating actions, that relate to this
policy not being adhered to:

Issue/Risk - examples Mitigation - examples

 Lack of teachers.  Provide scholarships for Cook Island teachers

 Use of untrained and unqualified teachers. to access higher learning and training overseas.
 Poor teaching processes.  Provide professional in-service training.
 Lack of resources.  Put in place community, business and
 Unsuitable learning environments. international partnerships to assist with
 Out-of-date, inappropriate curricula. resourcing of schools.
 Inconsistency of standards between schools.  Ensure all learning environments functional,
 Lack of acceptable achievement by learners. safe and appropriate through regulation,
 Learners not gaining work-force related skills. inspection and policy.
 Low skill levels in literacy and numeracy.  Community-wide consultation on curricula
 Poor school leadership. requirements.
 Currency of Training Needs Assessment  Regular monitoring of assessment results by
 Decreased scope of providers schools and MoE.
 Loss of provider accreditation  Quality management systems maintained to ensure
ongoing accreditation.
 Lack of regional and international recognition and
acceptance of qualifications.  Programmes developed to meet the outcomes of the TNA.
 Special programmes and projects to address
key concerns.
 Targeted training of Principals to establish
quality school cultures.


Monitoring is keeping track of the workings of a policy -noting whether the policy is referred and adhered to
during the development of education processes and programmes.

Evaluation involves making careful judgements about the worth, quality and benefit of a policy. It provides
feedback on the efficiency, effectiveness and performance of policy and is critical to policy improvement
and innovation.

Review refers to implementing any required changes that have become apparent during the monitoring and
evaluation processes.

 The Planning and Development Division will monitor and evaluate the implementation and impact
of this policy and report as required.
 The policy will be reviewed as per the policy register on an ongoing basis by the
Director, Planning and Development
 Feedback will be presented to key stakeholders in a range of modalities.
This policy will be reviewed 24 months after implementation and thereafter every 36 months.

__________________ _________

S Paio Date
Secretary of Education

Nix, R.K, Fraser, B.J.,&Ledbetter,C.E. (2005). Evaluating an integrated science learning environment
using the Constructivist Learning Environment Survey. Learning Environments Research: An
International Journal, Vol 8, pp 109-133.